JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – As the Mississippi Ag and Outdoor Expo kicked off on Friday, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson announced new partnerships that will benefit Mississippi’s youth.

The plans come in partnership with conservation organizations from across Mississippi. The goal is to get youth in the state involved in agriculture and conservation efforts.

One of the partnerships is between the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC), the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) and the Mississippi FFA Association. The partnership will allow FFA to utilize hundreds of of acres along Pickwick Lake and Yellow creek to benefit FFA members. MDWFP and FFA signed a 20-year agreement that will provide access and use of the lake-front property, with plans to improve the property as an outdoor recreational and agricultural education retreat for FFA members across the state.

Gipson also announced the creation of the new Wild Hog Control Program (WHCP) Youth Trapping Corps. The program provides “smart” wild hog traps to landowners and managers for the control wild hogs on private agricultural and forestry lands in Mississippi. The youth program is designed to to educate student members of agriculture-based organizations on the impact of nuisance animals on agriculture and the importance of wild hog management.

Additionally, the Mississippi Pork Board and the National Pork Board donated two panel trap systems that include traps, HogEye Camera Systems, solar power components and custom trailers.

“It is critical to the future of the state of Mississippi. We’ve got to keep our young people plugged in here. And what better way to do that than involve them in the great natural resources? We have the great outdoors here in the state. The future farmers of America, our future workforce and leaders of this state are going to be front and center of this. And to have them so passionate about it, it gives me a lot of hope for the future of Mississippi,” said Gipson.

The plans include new land for the Future Farmers of America in Tishomingo County and a Youth Wild Hog Trapping Corps, which is expected to launch soon.